By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cardinal Newman’s football program violated North Coast Section rules regarding out-of-season practices and as a result will forfeit nine practice days during the upcoming season.
Middletown, a perennial North Central League I power, held three unauthorized spring practices and received a shorter penalty.
Cardinal Newman held spring practice on eight days after its school year ended on May 22. That is in conflict with NCS Rule 206H and the penalty calls for guilty schools to forfeit the number of days it violated the rules plus an additional date.
Cardinal Newman athletic director Jerry Bonfigli notified the NCS when he realized the rule had been violated.
“We take full responsibility and accept the penalty,” Bonfigli said. “The rule has been in place ever since I can remember.
“Someone in our office told us the rule had been changed and we just went with that instead of contacting NCS to make sure.
“As the athletic director, it’s my fault more than anybody else. We broke the rules and we accept that.”
The Cardinals open the season Aug. 30 at home against Churchill County of Fallon, Nev. The days to skip practice are at the discretion of the school involved. The dates can be taken any time after the start of fall practice, which begins Aug. 11.
Cardinal Newman Coach Paul Cronin conferred with Bonfigli and has tentatively decided on the dates the school will serve the infraction.
“We have a bye week after our first three games and we’ll take some of the penalty during that time,” Bonfigli said. “We also have a picture day scheduled.”
Commissioners Gil Lemmon of the NCS and Marie Sugiyama of the North Bay League received letters from Bonfigli on Thursday.
“This violation was simply human error,” Lemmon said. “I’m convinced it was nothing more than that.”
Bonfigli said the junior varsity squad also practiced seven times when it was prohibited and will accept the eight-day penalty assessed by the NCS.
Bill Foltmer, the coach at Middletown, said his school also reported its violation to the NCS.
“It was my mistake and I accept responsibility,” he said. “I got my dates confused. “We have to give back four practice dates.”
Two other schools — Clayton Valley Charter in Concord and Moreau Catholic in Hayward — also held unauthorized practices and will be penalized by the NCS.
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